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Annual CanTree Christmas raises thousands for locals in need

Annual CanTree Christmas raises thousands for locals in need

Dee Dee Thomas of Century 21 holds up a dish set for attendees to bid on during the live auction at the annual Christmas CanTree Fundraiser.


POSTED December 5, 2013 10:17 p.m.

As Christmas approaches hundreds in the community of Turlock are reaching deep inside their pockets to contribute to local efforts that aim to help those in need this holiday season. Turlock’s local base of real estate agents are no exception as they raised $20,000 at their annual Christmas CanTree Fundraiser on Wednesday.

Since 1982, the Central Valley Association of Realtors has contributed significantly to Turlock Together, a conglomerate of local businesses, churches, nonprofits and organizations that aim to overcome hunger in the community. In partnership with the Salvation Army, hundreds of signature Turlock Together blue barrels are distributed throughout the community to collect donations of non-perishable food and new toys. These proceeds, as well as those collected at the Realtor’s annual CanTree Christmas fundraiser, are donated to benefit local families in the Turlock, Denair, Delhi, Hilmar, Keyes and Stevinson area.

Despite the early hour, this year’s CanTree Christmas Fundraiser brought hundreds in the community to the War Memorial for pancakes, eggs and ham at 7:30 a.m. Attendees did not remain groggy for long as the live auction commenced promptly at 8 a.m. with auctioneer Jake Bettencourt’s swift voice garnering hundreds of dollars in donations at a rapid pace.

“This year was probably down from previous years, but the economy has tended to be down so really the public is responding well. And we’re going to be able to help Turlock Together with their 2,000 meals so that’s the important thing,” said Dee Dee Thomas, a member of the Turlock Realtor’s Christmas CanTree Committee who has made the annual event a tradition since 1982.

The $20,000 was made possible through the live and silent auction, a jewelry raffle, ticket sales and outside donations.  Fifty-two items were on the live auction agenda including a 49ers jersey signed by Colin Kaepernick, an Aptos Beach getaway, and a Garton Ford tractor trike.  The silent auction lined the walls and was held in a raffle style allowing attendees to stroll the perimeter of the War Memorial and place their tickets into bags in front of their item of interest.

All of the proceeds will be given to Turlock Together to help feed the needy this holiday season. Turlock Together will be distributing donations from 7 a.m. to late afternoon  Dec. 21 at Turlock Fruit located at 500 S. Tully Road in Turlock. Drop-in volunteers are welcome. Those with questions can contact Manuel Drummond at 988-3656.

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